Bungalow Project provides essential living skills

A Cumbernauld charity, which supports people with disabilities and mental health issues, has opened a new training centre at Palacerigg Golf Course

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Watch Us Grow was established in 1999 and provides people with skills and confidence to reach their potential through various jobs in the garden such as; planting seeds, watering plants, re-potting plants, attending to wormeries, working in the polytunnel and selling plants to visitors.

The new centre - known as the Bungalow Project - will be based within the clubhouse and is the result of a successful partnership between the charity, North Lanarkshire Leisure (NLL) and North Lanarkshire Council.

Ann McCulloch, General Manager of Watch US Grow, believes the bungalow will enhance the range of activities they offer to assist people with disabilities moving into their own tenancies.

"We'll provide a range of training for our students in basic cookery and home keeping skills, resulting in a formal qualification - a National 4 in Independent Living Skills," she said.

Courses will be delivered by further education staff at the Palacerigg facility.

And other plans in the pipeline include developing a stargazing group, cinema and photography clubs and a knitters and stitchers group.

Cllr Tom Fisher Chair of Watch US Grow, added: "Over the years we have consistently developed new initiatives to enable our students to participate more fully within the local community, creating paid employment within our social enterprise activities.

"This fantastic opportunity only happened due to the partnership approach we've adopted and the support we've received from NLL and the council."

North Lanarkshire Leisure is leasing the bungalow to the charity and managing director Emma Walker explains it fits with the organisation's commitment to ensure facilities are used by as many people as possible.

"Our aim is to encourage people to live healthy lifestyles and ensure there are no barriers to enjoying the benefits of healthy living activities - that's why we were so keen to work with Watch US Grow.

"We only started planning the Bungalow Project in January and its incredible what has been achieved - I'd like to thank everyone who played their part in making this a success."

NLL has also provided work-placement opportunities for students in grounds maintenance, potentially leading to more permanent job offers.         

Cllr Jim Logue, Leader of North Lanarkshire Council, added: "This is a clear example of a win-win situation where a surplus facility has been turned to good use after a skills need was identified by the charity. And it's a great illustration of North Lanarkshire Leisure making a positive difference within our community."

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